Cut Scenes in Information Literacy: Information at the point of need

I was sitting in on a few classes today and I had an overwhelming urge to skip the cut scene. Clark Aldrich defines a cut scene as…”triggered to present backstories, awards, briefings, and end of level resolution, as well as other level milestones. In cut scenes, the participant looses all control except to possibly skip the scene.” My problem was I couldn’t skip the cut scene.

Our instruction program uses classroom management software in our instruction lab. It started innocently enough, we wanted to be able to grab the students’ screens to draw attention to key points and have the students show the class examples of their searching. Unfortunately, like all technology they rise up against their users (at least that’s what growing up in James Cameron’s film world taught me). Our use of SynchronEyes has become an overuse.

In many ways, it has become an unskippable cut scene. Cut scenes are designed to grab the players’ attention and help inform them about the plot or about a needed skill being applied. Our application of the software is designed to advance their understanding of research methods (the plot) and walk them through a new database or advanced search (new skill). But cut scenes work in short bursts, enough to grab their attention, but not long enough to lose it. Our “cut scenes” are too long and drawn out and result in the loss of student’s attention. Part of the problem is the desire to show too many skills without the ability to directly use them.

Cut scenes in video games may provide an overview of a new skill or a few hints on how and where to apply it. But they do not walk a player through every detail of the puzzle or skill. Our issue is over eagerness and a desire to explain it all (we’re librarians after all). But that is our weakness. Our control and demonstration of skills and strategies is leaving the students behind. We are not providing them with the information at the point of need.

Gee talks about games teaching at the “point of need” right when a player needs to apply the information. It connects the skill with a context. If we only show a little, just enough to get our students started, and then let them search we can come back and provide more detail either as a class (to highlight something key) or individually as needed. Some students will be able to figure out the further application of skills if our introduction is adequate.

We do not need, and should not create “cut scenes” in instruction that our students want to skip. By providing smaller “cut scenes,” demos, or examples at the point of need we not only add value to our instruction but create “cut scenes” that do not create an overwhelming urge to skip.

Has anyone done something similar? Or seen similar problems? Our information literacy team will meet next week to talk more about this concept and determine how we determine the point of need.

Photo by Shizzlepie

Branching Paths: Student Driven Content

This semester I’ve taken a different approach to my initial branching path lecture. The one I did last semester made use of personalization, user feedback, and problem solving video game strategies. While it was a good effort, it paled in comparison to the complexity of the later attempts that semester.

Given the scope of the content I covered for this semester (Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and South America) I wanted to take some of the knowledge off my shoulders and put it back onto the students. The goal of these lectures is to help students generate topic ideas for their research papers. My belief was that student would gain more from actively taking part in the content exploration (not a revolutionary idea I know).

To this end, I still created a branching path that allowed the students choice and personalization. The lecture used two layers of paths, one on the country and one on the subject to explore further. The students voted as a class using Turning Point on what country and discipline they wanted to focus on. Individually they conducted a quick web search on the selected categories and then reported back to the group as a whole. The structure provided more a broader scope on a given subject than I would have. This presented the students with more potential topics and ways to approach ideas. The lecture used a second round of branching to allow the students to run a search on the country of their choice. While the branching lecture choice was artificial since the students branched and looked up their choices rather than searching as a class on the same topic. The choice and the public commitment to that choice through voting created an environment where the students were ready and interested in exploring the region and provided enough of a structure to make them accountable for what they found.

The classes (8 in 2 days) all went extremely well. Only about 10% - 20% of students entered with an idea for a topic, but the classes left with an average of 85% of the class having research topics. Not a bad place to start for the second day of class.

Long Term Results of Violent Gameplay

Over the past few days I’ve posted about a few selected studies on violence and video games. Now part of the reason to do so was in preparation for meeting with our English faculty about the first-year research/thesis paper. The other reason that I’ve posted a sampling of the research is to help provide support for those facing these agreements (“The only value is training to kill” and the like). For a few of you, I hope this research is helpful. For others, being informed and able to respond to criticism is never a bad thing, right?

The research described above has consistently focused on the short term effects of violent video games on aggression. Even Anderson (Anderson & Bushman, 2001) has acknowledged the lack of longitudinal studies. The research of Williams and Skoric (2005) attempted to address this concern by analyzing the long term affects of video game violence over a month of game play.

The study itself was conducted on first-time MMRPG players, many of whom had never played any game before. The study used Asheron’s Call 2, and applied a precondition that theparticipants should play the game for at least 5 hours per week, over 68% of those studied played over this amount. A total of 213 participants (167 male, 45 female, 1 unstated), with ages ranging from 14 to 68 were used in this study. During the course of the month each participant completed a pre- and post-test online self-reporting questionnaire. The questionnaire included a range of demographic, behavioral, and personality variables.

This one month longitudinal study found that, contrary to previous short term studies, there were no strong effects associated with aggression caused by this violent game. The results of the study do not provide strong support for the predictions and results suggested by Anderson and the GAM model (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The theoretical models and studies that strongly link violent games to direct increases in aggressive beliefs or behaviors are not supported over the long term. The results suggest that the effects of some games wear out after an hour, and disappear (or remain very small) after a month.

Violent Video Games: Criticism of Research Methods

Following up on my previous post and as part of my literature review of violent video games and their effect on aggression, Ferguson's work questions the methodology of the research conducted by Anderson and others.

Criticism of Research Methods

Ferguson, C.J. (2007) conducted a meta-analytic review of publications on from 1995 to 2005 studying the effects of video game violence were focused on correlation (non-experiment) and laboratory based experiments.

The focus of the study identified the underlying notion that research like Anderson, Bushman, and others attempt to make, “If playing violent video games in real life can be correlated with aggressive behavior and similar effects are seen due to random assignment to a violent video game condition in laboratory experiments, it is thought that this provides evidence of causal link between video game violence and aggressive behavior.” This is really a key point for much of the aggression research, they rely heavily on the assumption that an increase in white noise, story branches or reaction time correlate into daily life situations.

Anderson and Bushman (1997,1999, 2002) used white noise blasts to measure a person’s aggression level. Ferguson points out that actually provide “no evidence” that higher noise blasts associates with external aggression. In another round of research conducted by Anderson, Bushman, and others (2003, 2005 & 2006) used the Taylor Competitive Reaction Time test to measure aggression, but each studied applied it differently demonstrating no standardized way to interpreting the data.

Many studies (Anderson and Dill, 2000) use multiple measures for the same dependent variables, but only find significant results in some of them.

Ferguson points out that none of the studies and measurements used are linked directly to criminal actions. [This assumption and argument was used in both the State Supreme Court cases in IL and MI over violent video game regulations. Both Courts cited this lack of direct casual relationship as a reason to overturn the law.] According to Ferguson, the research provides no “compelling” support for either a correlation or causation relationship.

In addition, Ferguson found that unstandardized measurements of aggression resulted in greater effect size. 62% of the studies examined used unstandardized measures.

Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression & Violent Behavior, 12(4), 470-482.

image via mrlerone Flickr account

Dr. Craig Anderson: Violent Video Games and Aggression

As part of my research for and in preparation for the introductory composition course I am involved in, I've brushed up on Anderson's work. Below is a quick summary of some of Anderson's work on the subject of aggression and violent video games:

Dr. Craig Anderson from the University of Iowa is one of the most frequently cited and published researchers in the field of video game violence. Anderson’s work has been used in a variety of venues from scholarly publications to State Supreme Court arguments. Anderson research was used in the Illinois video game legislation defense where he was described as, “The nation's pre-eminent researcher on the effect of exposure to violent video games." Anderson’s work has been published in a multiple books, from Children in the Digital Age: Influences of Electronic Media on Development (2002) to his own Violent Video Games Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy (2006).

In 2000, Anderson and Dill found that violent video game play and aggressive personalities accounted for the majority of observed aggressive and delinquent behavior.

In 2001, Anderson and Bushman conducted a meta-analytic review of violent video game research found that violent game play increased the aggressive thoughts in males and females across age ranges in both experimental and non-experimental situations. The research demonstrated an increase in short term aggression after playing violent video games.

In 2001, Anderson and Bartholow, studied the gender differences between aggressive actions after playing violent video games. The research found that male college age students demonstrated a significant increase in aggression immediately after playing a violent video game (Mortal Kombat) versus a nonviolent game (PGA Tournament Golf). Women studied showed a significantly smaller increase in aggression after playing the game. Two of the concerns of this study are the small sample size (43) and the analysis of short term effects on aggression

In 2005, Anderson and Carnagey found that “violence in a video game, regardless of whether it is rewarded or punished, can increase hostile affect.” Their research showed that rewarding violence in video games can increase aggressive thoughts and actions. The study used the same white noise punishment that was used in the 2001 study above.

These are just a sample of the many research studies conducted by Anderson over the last seven years. Anderson’s most conclusive evidence is an increase in short term aggressive thought.

Anderson, C. A. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27(1), 113.

Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological Science, 12(5), 353.

Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. E. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 78(4), 772-790.

Bartholow, B. D., & Anderson, C. A. (2002). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior: Potential sex differences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(3), 283.

Carnagey, N. L., & Anderson, C. A. (2005). The effects of reward and punishment in violent video games on aggressive affect, cognition, and behavior. Psychological Science, 16(11), 882-889.

Image via Iowa State University Department of Psychology

High Anger & High Aggression: Video Game Violence

Yesterday just featured a research study I blogged about back in April.

I just spent some time going back through Giumetti and Markey's research. It refined the work of Craig Anderson and stressed the importance of anger as a factor of increased aggression after playing violent video games.

The 2007 study by Giumetti, G.W. & Markey, P.M. took a focused look at the role of personality traits and anger in studies similar to Anderson’s. Giumetti and Markey used methodology that mirrored Anderson’s in order to accurately study the affects of anger on Anderson’s results. The study used the General Aggression Model (GAM) model following Anderson’s application and a methodology similar to Bushman’s and Anderson’s (2002). The participants played one of 3 violent games (Doom 3, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, or Return to Castle Wolfenstein) or one of 3 nonviolent games (Tetris Worlds, Top Spin Tennis, or Project Gotham Racing) for 15 min. After the game was finished, they provided actions for an open ended story. The model of aggression testing has been used before (Anderson and Bushman, 2002). This studied tested for short –term increases in aggression. 167 undergraduate students (79 F, 88M) studied and took an Aggression Questionnaire to determine their dispositional anger personality traits.

The violent games produced significantly more aggressive responses. But individuals with low anger traits were not significantly affected by video game violence. Low anger respondents only showed a .43 increase in aggression (not statistically significant) compared to the 2.89 increase from high anger respondents. The results support that anger personality traits are a key element in the relationship between violent video games and aggression. Respondents who were not angry were relatively unaffected by violent video game play.

Giumetti, G.W., & Markey, P.M. (2007) Violent video games and anger as predictors of aggression. Journal of Research in Personality, doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2007.02.005

Ask Mii: Gotta Catch `Em All

We launched our Mii Trading Card Contest today during our 1st year orientation sessions. And much to my surprise it's been pretty successful. I assumed that people would take part over the first few weeks, but I did not foresee dozens of people roaming around the library on Friday searching out the library staff for their Mii cards.

I first wrote about this idea, back in this post. Since then the idea has simplified a little but the objectives of it are the same. Each library staff member has a Mii trading card that the students can collect. Students only need to ask a library staff member for their card to collect it. A full set of staff cards results in a cookie from the coffee shop (located in the library) and the student is entered into a drawing for larger prizes.

The idea is that the students have a chance to interact with the entire library staff and we are already seeing the benefits. Our acquisitions staff member had a conversation with a student who was talking to her parents about how she enjoyed the campus. The Mii card contest is creating interactions with students and staff that don't usually happen.

I'll report more on the activity after the first couple of weeks. I'm hoping that these interactions and connections between staff and students continue and grow over the semester.

(my Mii card has an error on it... can you spot it? Does that mean it will be a limited edition?)

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

This is one of my favorite days of the year. Students checking into campus, fresh starts, and a whole new world to discover and explore. The campus is alive again with excitement after the hibernation of the summer.

Maybe my excitement is because I remember my first weekend on a college campus and all the life changes that occurred during my first year at college. Maybe it's because college is a fresh start and a new world for those arriving. Maybe it's pending interactions and changes in the student's learning and personal growth.

Whatever the reason, in the middle of a stressful day while I scrambled to get things ready for orientation and classes I started singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." While the start of school may not be Christmas, it is a season worth celebrating.

Good luck to everyone out there starting their fall semester!

It's that time of year - Faculty learning from each other

I've spent the past two days at worked sequestered away at a faculty orientation. Although the orientation itself was held in the library, it occupied the entire day. The orientations are always a nice way to dive into the new semester by working on a few issues together and catching up from last spring. This year the discussions were good, but one discussion peaked my interest... one that potentially opens the door for game-based learning and video game strategies.

The faculty discussed the changes in the type of student that enrolls. The discussion included how the students are learning less from traditional teaching methods and the pedagogy changes that this suggests. One faculty member said, "Their learning strategies may not be ours, but it does not mean they are wrong." Another member talked about the need to "relinquish control" in the classroom.

These concepts are not new and hopefully part of continuing movement in Higher Education. But it was great to hear them out of the people I work with. The understanding of our students' learning styles opens the door for more discussion about game-based learning.

I hope that this discussion and the public recognition (round of applause) of my Fantasy Football activities may create new opportunities for incorporating video game strategies into the classroom.

Mapping Madden: Inside the huddle with information literacy

Earlier this week I talked about playing Madden Football and information literacy. Here are some gameplay examples to the outcomes that I mapped out:

1.1.c. Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic
Using the in-game tutorial helps introduce the gameplay; Reading reviews online to get an understanding of the gameplay and features

1.1.f. Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and analysis to produce new information
During the draft, I use the scouting reports generated by the game to evaluate players, and then draft through a combination of original thought and game analysis

1.2.f. Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources
Sometimes during the drafting process, scouting reports are not available. Then decisions are made based on an analysis of the player's existing statistics

1.3.a. Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process
Determining my teams' needs and filling them is not done through the draft alone. If a player type (needed info.) is not available, I expand the search through team trades and the free agency market.

2.4.a. Assesses the quantity, quality and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative methods should be utilized
During the draft, the quality of scouting reports becomes a factor, and needs to be evaluated in order to make a draft decision.

2.4.b. Identify gaps in the information retrieved and determine if the search strategy should be revised
Assessing my team needs and player positions, identifies needs. During the off season, I need to determine if these needs can be filled through the draft, or if I need to expand to trades and free agency.

2.5.b. Creates a system for organizing the information
Because of the statistics I'm culling through, I often keep a paper grid recording the information and organizing it to determine the best fit for my team needs.

3.4.a. Determines whether information satisfies the research or other information need
Before signing to my team, I need to determine if he fits the team's need.

3.4.c. Draws conclusions based upon information gathered
Once all the information is gathered, I need to determine which player(s) to sign.

4.1.b. Articulates knowledge and skills transferred from prior experiences to planning and creating the product or performance
I draw upon previous experience and knowledge from previous games and previous seasons in the game when beginning a new season.

4.2.b. Reflects on past success, failures and alternative strategies
This happens in the off-season player signing, an in the successful strategies from game to game and play to play.

4.3.a. Choose a communication medium and format that best supports the purposes of the product
There are a large number of online forums and discussions boards relating to Madden and online gameplay, all offering ways to communicate with other players.

5.2.a. Participates in electronic discussions following accepted practices
Same as above in 4.3.a

Managing a franchise in Madden involves a skill set that includes all the analysis, planning, and searching hit upon a wide number of ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

Symptoms diagnosed from:
Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (2000). [Brochure]. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries

images from IGN

Getting in a final word on GLLS 2007

Over on Jenny Levine's theshiftedlibrarian, she just posted a video of footage and interviews from GLLS shot by Tom Peters and edited by Daniel Kraus. If you haven't watched it yet, it's easily worth the few minutes of your time.

Tom interviewed me on the final day of GLLS and I hoped my interview would stay off the cutting room floor, but I never thought I'd get the last word on the video. I'd like to think my final comments on the connection between video games and information literacy were selected because they provided a positive sending message for those of us using and advocating gaming in our libraries. But it could just be that I've worked in politics long enough to focus my sound bites.

Either way, check it out for yourself... here

Back from a long weekend of puzzle gaming

While I got caught up in Madden fever last week, with the help of some medication I've recovered.

The cure for my Madden ills? Puzzle Games

Since I spent the better part of three months this spring with Puzzle Quest embedded in my DS, I wanted to find something to fill that puzzle game craving. As an aside, if you haven't tried Puzzle Quest (DS, PSP, Xbox Live; and soon PS2 & Wii) you owe it to yourself to give it a tried. The game had some great word of mouth and buzz from the Video Game press back in the spring. If you haven't tried it, download a free demo from Game Daily here and give it a try.

[end Puzzle Quest promotion]

I've split my time this weekend between Picross DS & Planet Puzzle League.

Picross DS is slower paced game (except for the constant timer, adding tension to the puzzles) more in the vein of Sudoku or crossword puzzles. But that description doesn't do it justice. You are solving picture puzzles square-by-square on a grid based upon the numeric clues you are given about how many blocks get filled in each row. The game contains a large sampling of puzzles, from simple 5x5 grids on up. The inclusion of daily puzzles and new puzzle downloads creates enough content to keep coming back for a while. While it's possible to fly through tapping every box to see if it's correct, the challenge comes in getting faster times and fewer errors. I've never been a fan of Sudoku, I'm enjoying this game. For a budget price and the promise of continuing puzzle downloads, this was a worthwhile buy.

My second puzzle game, and the one I think I'll end up spending more time with is Planet Puzzle League. The game itself has been around in a variety of formats for years, matching and clearing 3 blocks, but the inclusion of the touch screen makes the game a easy to pick up, fun to play, and hard to put down. I have not had too much time to really dig into all the modes in the game, but it does include daily training puzzles and multiplayer battles over the internet and local wi-fi. From what I've played so far, this game is definitely filling my Puzzle Quest craving. The action is fast paced. The concepts are easy to understand. But mastering the gameplay and setting up large 3 of a kind chains is hard to master.

Both games provide different puzzle experiences and are great for a quick pick-up and play at a budget price. As the semester starts next week and I'm scrambling to get everything ready, these two games will fill my sparse gaming moments

Images from:
Infinite Interactive
Nintendo .com

Catching a fever

Okay, so my blogging was spotty this week. While some of it I can chalk up to reviewing two book chapters for publication, much of was due a catching a fever - Madden Fever.

(yeah, that was a cheesy way to open a post I know)

But on a more serious note, I want you to consider the symptoms I displayed:

1.1.c. Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic
1.1.f. Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original though, experimentation, and analysis to produce new information
1.2.f. Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources
1.3.a. Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process

2.4.a. Assesses the quantity, quality and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative methods should be utilized
2.4.b. Identify gaps in the information retrieved and determine if the search strategy should be revised
2.5.b. Creates a system for organizing the information

3.4.a. Determines whether information satisfies the research or other information need
3.4.c. Draws conclusions based upon information gathered

4.1.b. Articulates knowledge and skills transferred from prior experiences to planning and creating the product or performance
4.2.b. Reflects on past success, failures and alternative strategies
4.3.a. Choose a communication medium and format that best supports the purposes of the product

5.2.a. Participates in electronic discussions following accepted practices

Playing a franchise in Madden, including all the analysis, planning, and searching hit upon a wide number of ACRL Information Literacy Standards. I'll come back later in the week and provide in-game examples of the outcomes in action.

Symptoms diagnosed from:
Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (2000). [Brochure]. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries

images from IGN

Shameless Plug of the Week

Just a quick plug for myself. My ACRL member profile went up today. Check it out here.

I received a request from ACRL back in July before GLLS. I was and still am excited by the request. I am grateful and humbled by being included as of one of the 65 librarians currently profiled.

Here's a quick quote from my profile, but please check out the full profile to read the rest and find out what 3 words I use to describe myself.

Through their playful experiences in video games and popular culture, our students are developing the foundation of those skills. My responsibility,our responsibility, is not to see these skills not as a hindrance to their education, but as an asset. As librarians, we can build upon these skills and move them into an education context.

Fantasy Football Instruction: Trouble Shooting

The students were initially skeptical, and given the limited number that previously played fantasy football could have appeared dead in the water. Two things to keep in mind when you are planning:

NOTE1: I had assumed the worst and planned accordingly. While the students may not play fantasy football, they know football. This fact kept them interested and quickly re-engaged them.

NOTE2: Although the NCAA does not allow active players to play fantasy sports, due to the potential for gambling, the student athletes are still aware of what fantasy sports are. The lesson does not advocate playing fantasy football. The research question the students are presented with is more about who will be the third best RB in the NFL this year, which happens to coincide with the third overall fantasy football player.

If (when) you try this with your student athletes, don’t worry when these happen. You and the students will get through it. The inclusion of Vince Young, his quarterback value, and the “Madden Curse” got the majority of people back into the session. Many knew what it was and they started engaging each other describing who the players were that “suffered” the curse. This interested was used as momentum for the rest of the session.

Thanks for all support and questions. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Fantasy Football Instruction: Student Evaluation Data

Here is a sample of some of the responses we received from the students through a brief assessment/evaluation form at the end of the session (the results are for only one of the two sessions taught... the full results will be published later):

  • Only 4 of the 27 students had played fantasy football previously
  • The students were asked to list 3 criteria they used to evaluate their source
    • 85%, 23 of 27 students listed at least 2 appropriate criteria
    • 56%, 15 of 27 students listed at least 3 appropriate criteria
    • The criteria fell into two categories: information quality & football quality
      • Information: reliability, author, date,
      • Football: yards, stats, print vs online, leaders in the industry (ESPN)
When asked what the term "research" meant before this session:
  • work I didn’t want to do
  • headaches
  • Looking up facts to back up what one is writing about
  • Finding out about a certain topic and what it was about
  • looking up stuff
  • a long paper
  • school work
  • No fun time

After this session, what the term "research" mean:
  • looking up information
  • somewhat positive
  • fun work
  • Making sure one is getting accurate info
  • compare and know where I'm getting my info
  • taking time to look up stuff
  • looking for the real information
One student first said "school" then he said, "everything."

We asked what the perception of librarians was before and after this session:
  • Before: 18 "very positive" 8 "somewhat positive" 1 "somewhat negative"
  • After: 25 "very positive" 2 "somewhat positive"
Some students left final comments which included:
  • Nice way to present to football players
  • You guys are really positive and helpful
  • I made the fantasy football connection to looking up school stuff quick, worked well.
The full results are just as positive as these and overall was successful in getting across criteria for evaluating sources and created a positive impression of the librarians and research.

Fantasy Football Instruction: Reflections

Overall both sessions went surprisingly smooth and were well received. The students were engaged (eventually) and were positive throughout the session. Our team ended up teaching two sessions since the size of the group dictated that we spilt them up in order to fit into our computer labs. We initially planned for three groups given the projected class size, but only needed two. I’m very thankful to both Jon Helmke and Anne Marie Gruber for being willing to prep and teach the fantasy football lesson, neither of whom had any previous experience playing fantasy football. They both served as great examples that the session is more about research than about football.

By starting out with the discussion of the “Madden Curse” and how that effects a player’s fantasy ranking engaged over half of the class. Then transitioning this into a question of who will be the top running back this season engaged others as they shouted out “LT.” The students reacted well to the question of who would be the #3 RB, by providing a variety of responses on which player should ranked 3rd. The class did vote on who they thought and it worked well in order to get the students to commit to a player.

The discussion of criteria to evaluate sources worked well and the students answered questions relating to football sources. After the discussion of criteria, the 2-minute drill activity resulted in a nice variety of sources (espn, sports illustrated, fox sports, sporting news,, and even This variety allowed us to touch on topics of professional vs. fan (ffjungle vs. espn), free vs. fee (SI vs. ESPN), and timeliness (’s outdated article). I was impressed that the student athletes engaged with each other discussing the sources and arguing over their conclusions. Besides one student throwing out other player names to distract others, most students focused their discussion on legitimate criteria. If the topic wasn’t football, the discussion could have happened in any info lit class.

This was the point. And it worked.

When we took another poll after the research, the results in both classes shifted based upon the research the students found. The connection to their course material and classes worked well and created a positive note to end the session on.

I can’t wait to try it again.

Catching Up on Gaming News

Since my two sons were nice enough to wake up at 4:45 am (back asleep by 5:30) and 5:45 (still awake), I've had some time this morning to catch up on the RSS feeds.

Being a former political operative and lifetime political junkie, I'm excited by announcement and push from the ECA for YouTube questions for the presidential debate. GamePolitics is highlighting the videos here. They just published a handful more today. Most are well thought out and produced. I'm excited by the fact that gamers are getting into the advocacy role and being politically active.

Fresh off his appearance on The Colbert Report, Ian Bogost's recent Gamasutra article is a great read. My brain's not ready yet to analysis it's meaning for library games, give me a few more cups of coffee and then we'll see. So I hope to return to it soon.

Also, if you haven't used or listened to the resources from EDUCAUSE I mentioned back in June. EDUCAUSE now has video from the Spring 2007 Conference on Immersive Worlds

Immersive Learning Environments: New Paths to Interaction and Engagement," presents highlights from the 2007 ELI Spring Focus Session and discusses the use of ILEs such as online games, simulations, and virtual worlds to support teaching and learning.
Finally, I'm excited that GameSetWatch picks up the activity from GLLS 2007. Research Quest gets mentioned in the post. I've always enjoyed GameSetWatch's collection of stories and posts, which just outside of mainstream gaining. Maybe it's related to the fact that GameSetWatch's Simon acknowledged his personal interest in libraries and even considered librarianship.

Amory's GOM as Lesson Plan: Fantasy Football

Since my write-up on Amory's Game Object Model (GOM) this weekend, I've churned over the idea of using the GOM as a framework for lesson plans. Structuring a lesson plan around the GOM model still allows for the inclusion of traditional content like objective and sequence, but it stress the outer shell of the GOM - Game Space. Framing a traditional information literacy session within the GOM should force the analysis and implantation of play elements and video game strategies... Or at least that is the theory I'm working from.

Below is the previously posted Fantasy Football lesson laid out using the GOM. I plan on running other lessons through the GOM as well and would appreciate any feedback or questions.

Fantasy Football GOM

  • 1) Game Space
    • Play: Fantasy football content and play is a recreation choice of about 18 million Americans (source: Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 2007)
    • Exploration: Freedom of resource path and choice, not 1 right path source
    • Challenge: Not clear answer for #3, no consensus of opinion
    • Engagement: topic of invest, student directed outcome, inclusion of student voting
    • Visualization Space
      • Discovery: searching and collection of data
      • Goal Formation: research question, #3 draft pick
      • Goal Completion: voting on draft choice, reaching decision
      • Competition: OT activity is organized, 2 min drill is informal, “who’s source is best?”
      • Practice: 2 min drill is in class practice, discussion allows reflection on that practice
      • Storyline: context of students making a draft choice in their own league
      • Elements Space
        • Fun: hopefully the content of entertainment is interesting and even fun
        • Graphics: limited visual component, graphs through voting
        • Sounds: no sounds incorporated, could use Fox Sports NFL and ESPN theme songs/intro music
        • Technology: limited use, mainly computers and internet access to perform research
        • Actors Space
          • Drama: librarian created dram of “who to pick” limited role
          • Interaction: student/librarian engagement, students interact with each other debating who is the best pick
          • Gestures: librarian movement throughout classroom to assist in engagement and student classroom management
    • Problem Space
      • Communication
        • Reading: content analysis of research/fantasy football findings
        • Writing: recording of website, date, author, and player ranking
        • Speaking: classroom discussion on findings, peer communication on ranking
      • Literacy
        • Visual: ability to read and understand charts and tables included in rankings
        • Mathematical: season stat analysis to predict and judge performance
        • Computational: averaging draft ranking to determine new value, weighted average of ranking based on source quality
      • Memory
        • Short-term: website evaluation
        • Long-term: application of criteria and process to academic work
      • Motor
        • Manipulation: physical navigation of websites
        • Reflex: no direct application

Amory, A. (2007). Game object model version II: A theoretical framework for educational game development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(1):51-77.

In Loving Memory: Luke Stempa 1994-2006

It was a year ago today that my godson, Luke Stempa died.

Luke was a gift.

While I have few words to describe him right now, thanks to the tightening in my stomach. He is an inspiration for me and my work on this site. Because of Luke's physical conditions he was limited in sports, but much of Luke's identity, and learning came through his life as a gamer.

Here are posts about Luke and his continued influence in my life, one from a month after his death and another from this past spring. I know that he would love the work and discussions going on here.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family this day and everyday.

Luke, I love you and miss you. Thank you for the games we played, the lightsaber battles together, and the love we shared.

ACRL Info Lit Outcomes for Fantasy Football Class

Since I included the following information literacy outcomes in the Objectives of the lesson plan. I want to provide specific examples throughout the lesson to help make the application and information literacy connection clear:

1.1.a. Confers with instructors and participates in class discussions, peer workgroups, and electronic discussions to identify a research topic, or other information need

Class discussion on who to pick, criteria to use, peer discussion on draft selection.

1.2.c. Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g., multimedia, database, website, data set, audio/visual, book)

Print magazines, websites, podcasts, radio shows, TV shows; what are the strengths/ weaknesses of each format?

1.2.d. Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)

Is the audience of a fan site or discuss board different than ESPN or Fox sports- Discuss of audience & purpose individual sources.

1.2.f. Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources

Use previous season statistics to help predict and draw conclusions

2.2.a. Develops a research plan appropriate to the investigative method

Plan of where to look and how to record the info (chart or spreadsheet to record rankings) 10 pre-searched sites.

2.2.b. Identifies keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed

List out search terms, really, determine terms before search.

2.4.a. Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative method should be utilized

Students report out if they went directly to a site or did a general search, and the results of search

2.5.d. Records all pertinent citation information for future reference

Students write down, copy & paste, or bookmark site to record source, date published, and author.

3.2.a. Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias

Define criteria on the board, both students & librarian contribute- Use class discussion of criteria after each source to make judgments

3.2.c. Recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation

During the reporting out process, The librarian helps the class ID potential prejudice from site or compared to info on other sites.

3.4.a. Determines whether information satisfies the research or other information need

After reporting process, students determine if they want more info (if time allows use OT activity if search not satisfied.

3.4.c. Draws conclusion based upon information gathered

Vote as class to make draft pick, conclusion based on findings

3.4.f. Integrates new information with previous information or knowledge

Use initial draft voting & the results of research to draw conclusion, if results are different in ending vote compared to initial vote- discussion reasons for change.

3.6.a. Participates in classroom and other discussions

Discuss through questions & research reporting.

5.1.b. Identifies and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information

Through the results of search/ students will find areas not able to access free : CBS sports line, Fox sports Login Required: yahoo! Fee: ESPN

Fantasy Football Lesson Plan

This Friday our information literacy program will be doing an orientation session for 70 incoming freshmen football players. Here is the draft of the lesson, feedback or comments are welcome.

Topic: Information Literacy Skills in Fantasy Football
ACRL Information Literacy Learning Objectives:

1.1.a. Participates in class discussions

1.2.c. Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (print vs. online)
1.2.f. Construct information with raw data from primary sources

2.2.b. Identify keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed
2.4.a. Assess the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative methods should be utilized
2.5.d. Record all pertinent citation information

3.2.a. Examine and compare information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias
3.2.c. Recognize prejudice within information
3.4.a. Determine whether information satisfies the research or if additional information need
3.4.c. Draw conclusions based upon information gathered
3.4.f. Integrate new information with previous information or knowledge
3.6.a. Participate in classroom and other discussions

5.1.b. Identify and discuss issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information

Required Knowledge:
Basic understanding of football positions, detailed understanding of terminology and strategies not required.

Materials Needed:

Computer lab with internet access (lesson could be modified to teach off line with handouts)

Sequence of Instruction:

1.) Introduce the session and determine class's experience or awareness of fantasy football
How many played Fantasy Football?)
2) Establish creditability either through sharing experience or through research skills
I may not have a lot of experience, but I can tell you who’s a better value in the latter rounds or what sleepers to look out for, because fantasy football is all about in depth research.)
3) Provide a sample research question: Will the Madden curse strike again? Titans QB Vince Young is ranked anywhere from #6 - #14 at the QB position.
4) Begin the discussion on how to determine
who to pick, when to pick them, and who to start, all questions answered through research.
5) Research Question: "
Who should be the #3 overall pick in the draft?”
(#1 overall is LT, and while there is discussion on #2, there are more possibilities for the #3 pick. Thus, there is a research need.)
6) Use Turning Point clickers to vote on who should be selected
(F.Gore, S.Jackson, L.Johnson, J.Addai)
7) Class discussion on what they would use to make the decision of the #3 pick. Write student responses on board/ppt/or other means of recording.
8) Built off the student list to define how students' determine the quality of a source (record answers) (Reliability, validity, accuracy, timeless, and authority)
9) With the criteria defined, the class needs to determine where they would look for this information (print magazines, online, friends).
10) 2:00 minute drill - students get 2 minutes of individual work time to find and record their answers to the research question. They need to keep the sites up on their screens or write down the information in order to report back to the class as a whole.
11) Class Discussion:
Report out- what did they find?
  • Where? Evaluate against criteria
  • Does it match the criteria?
  • Can we answer the research question based on this information?
  • Why / why not?
  • What information do we still need?
12) Evaluate results together as a class:
  • Evaluate results
  • ID gaps
  • Revise search strategies
13) Include additional rankings (done during prep time) to address any missing criteria and add more data to draw a conclusion from
If time permits, if not jump to 16
OT Activity: split the students in the room, creating 2 sides; each side provides an additional reference for the research question; references continue back and forth until one side "out scores" the other by having a source when the other side doesn't or by having a source that is "worth more" (higher quality) than the other side; example: source is more authoritative, timely, or meets the criteria more than the other reference source
15) Review results from OT activity and draw appropriate conclusions as a class, based on the research question.
16) Re-vote using Turning Point or same method from the beginning of the lesson to answer the research question
17) Build the Bridge
  • Highlight Criteria Used
  • Discuss Criteria's Relationship to Academic Research
  • Stress Student's Ability to Already Do These Skills in Fantasy Football
  • Emphasis the Importance to Use These Skills in Their College Assignments

Evaluation Procedures:
Classroom vote (via Turning Point clickers) deciding on what player for each pick
- Online survey assessment including quantitative questions based on objective and qualitative questions on applications and perceptions.

Innovate's Newest Issue... Learning in Virtual Space

The newest issue of Innovate is out. There are two articles that deal with learning, video games, education:

In this article, Joey J. Lee and Christopher M. Hoadley argue that not enough attention has been given to video games' role in identity development and exploration, important corequisites for learning. This oversight has resulted in the failure of many attempts at edutainment, in spite of the acknowledged potential of video games to engage students in meaningful learning.
The article studied two middle school classes and how through the use of MMOGs the students engaged with diversity and technology issues. I am looking forward to reading this to see the development of an online identity and how that virtual identity shaped and changed the students' physical interactions.

The second article:

by Michael Begg, Rachel Ellaway, David Dewhurst, and Hamish Macleod

They argue that virtual patient simulations that make use of the motivational power of professional narrative can best reproduce practice settings online. In so doing, the authors showcase an online virtual simulation called Labyrinth. Designed to incorporate key principles of game-informed learning, this virtual patient simulation requires students to analyze case situations, synthesize knowledge from various learning experiences, and evaluate courses of action.
I spent some time this past week doing some research on video games in health care, disabilities, and other medical uses. And so I am interested to see how this use of simulation game can teach patient care.

Innovate is a free online journal and only requires a free login (no spam) to access the full articles. If you are not already register... click here and do it now.

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Amory's Game Object Model: GOM

Amory, A. (2007). Game object model version II: A theoretical framework for educational game development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(1):51-77.

The Game Object Model (GOM) explores the concept that educational games should be: relevant, explorative, emotive, engaging, and include complex challenges - all with authentic learning activities.

While the core of a game's learning process comes from the puzzles and quests within the game, their needs to be reflection and discussion about the process and the knowledge gained through play. I read Amory’s article on the flight to GLLS 2007, but I sat on it thinking of applications for libraries using video games and gamed based strategies. Before discussing the changes with version two, it is useful for a discussion of the first GOM developed by Amory in 1999.

Components of the first GOM:

  • Game Space - Play, Exploration, Challenges, Engagement
  • These are the core elements of a game identified by both game designers and game-based researchers. Games, both commercial and educational, use these to keep the player moving through the game. These components are not only important to maintain the interest of a player, they are important in maintaining the interest of our students as well. I experienced the success of creating these "game spaces" within traditional information literacy sessions. Using videogames in education and information literacy provides a wide variety of options to create these "game spaces." We should be planning and working to incorporate these elements within our classrooms.
    • Visualization Space - Critical thinking, discovery, goal formation, goal completion, competition, Practice, story-line
    • The visualization of the game addresses the physical and emotion experience the player goes through during the game. Most of these components are rooted in traditional educational theory. Creating (forming) goals, developing a process to reach them, completing them is standard for many process based issues (this includes the ACRL Information Competency Standards). I've briefly addressed critical thinking theory and video games before here and here. The success of competition within education is a mixed bag of blessings and curses that depends on a variety of factors (including the nature of participants and the result of the competition). The opportunities for successful practice is integrated in almost any lesson (whether written, oral of physical) the need to practice these skills to develop them is evident.
      • Elements Space - Fun, graphics, sounds, technology
      • Here are the gameplay elements within the GOM. How does the game play? Is it fun? Do the graphics engage the user? Do the graphics represent realism or are they stylized? Do the sounds help create an engaging experience or do they pull the player out of the game. Is the technology a help or hindrance for the player? These same questions can be raised in our lesson planning as well as in game-based learning. Are we incorporating fun, Engaging (yet not distracting) graphics, sounds that complement the experience, and technology for the benefit of our students (not just technology for technology's sake)? These elements can be implemented in a variety of setting (game-based and traditional) and see the benefits.
        • Actors Space - Drama, interaction, gestures
        • The physical actions and reactions of the players and students involved. How are students interacting with each other during gameplay and the lesson? Depending upon the physical demands of video game system, the way a player interacts with the game allows for additional requirements in this category.
    • Problem Space
      • Communications - Reading, writing, speaking
      • Communication in some form is required in every classroom interaction. Communication, successful communication, happens often in a game without the player thinking about it. Reading, writing, and oral communication are important for both the success of a game and traditional lessons. This communication is not simply between player and game, but student and teacher and student to student peer relationships as well.
      • Literacy - Visual, Logical, mathematical, computational
      • Here is where many traditional educational skills & standards (libraries, education, subject discipline) would be inserted into the GOM.
      • Memory - Short-term, Long-term
      • Some skill sets are intended and reinforced for success for game play and studying in the short team. There may be specific skills in the video game that are intended only for the short term (a new attack or item to reach a new location / enemy). Long-term memory needs prepare the player not only for a specific action, they the player to understand the game. Traditional lessons have similar requirements: short term retention for specifics staged assignments and tasks; long term retention for the content, facts, analysis of the subject specific discipline.
      • Motor - Manipulation, Reflex
      • Here are the physical movements required by the game and lesson. What actions and movements are required? A consideration to those with physical disabilities can be considered here.
The GOM provides a potential set of guidelines for developing educational games. The components of the GOM while designed for educational video games, may actually work for traditional lessons as well. This is an application I will come back to in future posts.

Next… I’ll look at the changes made to the GOM II.

I started this post on Thursday night, but since I fell asleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep at the computer 2 nights in a row, I decided to wait until later to complete it... for the benefit of all involved.